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This essay aims to provide a critical review of Performance Management and Training and Development of HRM in a typical high-tech company: Infosys. Infosys is a Fortune 500 company which specializes in IT services. The company has clients all cross the world and provide expertise in various industry sectors. Infosys integrates its Performance Management and Training and Development to better facilitate its workforce and to help the firm achieve its strategic goals.
This essay aims to provide a critical review of Performance Management and Training and Development in Infosys. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the integration of Performance Management and Training and Development in Infosys, and provides proper recommendations for future improvement.
Chapter 1 gives a brief background and the aim of the essay. Chapter 2 gives introduction of Infosys. Chapter 3 talks about Performance Management and how this part of HRM functions in Infosys. Chapter 4 deals with Training and Development and its function and role in Infosys. Chapter 5 provides a critical review of the Integration of Performance Management and Training and Development in Infosys. Chapter 6 offers some recommendations for future improvement of Infosys’ Training and Development as well as Performance Management. Chapter 7 is the conclusion of the whole essay.
Infosys was started in 1981 by seven people with US$ 250. Today, they are a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing with revenues of US$ 7.075 billion (LTM Q1 FY13). Many of the world’s most successful organizations rely on Infosys to deliver measurable business value. Infosys provides business consulting, technology, engineering and outsourcing services to help clients in over 30 countries build tomorrow’s enterprise. Infosys has a global footprint with 68 offices and 70 development centers in US, India, China, Australia, Japan, Middle East, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Poland, Canada and many other countries. Infosys and its subsidiaries have 151,151 employees as on June 30, 2012.
Infosys helps companies derive the measurable business value that they have always been looking for from business and IT investments. The company delivesr measurable business value in 3 ways:
Infosys can transform the fundamental shape of your business P&L. Regardless of which team our clients engage with; the company has a best-practice process for delivering value. In Infosys it is called IMPACT – to ensure a clear line of sight from process change to bottom-line impact, ensuring that you receive the business value you were promised.
Beyond transformation and innovation, it boils down to execution – delivering on time, on budget and “on value”. Infosys can optimize clients’ core operations to drive best-in-class efficiency and help fund the transformation and innovation.
Infosys can inject a level of product and service innovation into clients’ business to create new revenue opportunities through collaboration and co-creation. The foundation of its innovation capability is our core lab network – Infosys Labs – and the new thinking that our team of over 600 researchers brings to the table.
The Vision and Mission of Infosys are:
“We will be a globally respected corporation.”
“Strategic Partnerships for Building Tomorrow’s Enterprise.”
Levit (2008) suggest that performance is a multi-layer structure, and depending on different measuring factors, the results may be different also. Thus, if we want to measure and manage performance, we must first define it and know exactly what performance management means.
Usually performance management can be defined from three perspectives, and with different perspective, the contents, influencing factors and measuring methods that performance management includes differs. From the individual perspective, the definition of performance management has not come to a universal conclusion as various experts on HRM give their own definitions. At the current stage, there are two main views. One view believes that performance is equal to result; while another view suggests that performance equals behavior. Bernadin (1995) suggest that performance should be defined as the outcome of work, because these outcomes of work are closely related to organizational goals, strategies, customer satisfaction and investment. Kane (1996) points out that performance is the things that an individual leaves, and such things relatively independently exist. Hence, it is not difficult to see that the view of ‘performance is equal to result’ believes that the outcomes that performance gets are the records of how well one employee’s work is. The relative concepts about performance results include: Accountabilities, Key Result Areas, Results, Duties, Tasks and Activities, Objectives, Goals or Targets, Outputs, Critical Success Factors.
Nowadays, however, an increasing number people have accepted the concept that ‘performance equals behavior’, and they have posted challenges against the view of ‘performance is equal to result’. Campbell (1990) suggests that performance is a set of behaviors that are related to the organization that a person works for or the goals that the organization has. His definition of performance in 1993 is that performance is the synonym of behavior, and it is people’s actual behaviors and it can be observed and measured.
Performance management is the process through which managers ensure that employees’ activities and outputs are congruent with the organization’s goals. It is used to establish measures of performance to allow clear targets to be set and is a continuous process that enables us to improve delivery of business. Performance management plays a key role in Human Resources Management because an organization’s performance goals are designed according to the organization’s development plan, strategy and organizational goals. Today there are various tools for how to manage performance such as Balance
I believe that in practical performance management, the broader concept of performance should be employed – that is, the concept of performance should include both two aspects of behaviors and results. Such a perspective is well reflected in the definition of performance according to Brumbrach (1998): performance means results and behaviors. It tells us that when we conduct performance management, we should take into consideration of both input(behaviors) and output(results). Performance management should include the two aspects of what to do and how to do.
Infosys is a Fortune 500 company whose main service is in IT industry. Today it is the leading firm on the market providing various IT solutions to its clients. The business scope of Infosys ranges from Telecommunication, Banking, Financing, Retailing to Manufacturing. Like most international firms, Infosys has a matrix organizational structure. The company’s base is in India, but it is not strictly the headquarter of the company. Its various braches across the world work together to reach the organization’s strategic goals.
The types of employees in Infosys are divided into two catalogues: regular employee and contractor. Thus, performance management in Infosys has two different management methods for regular employees and contractors. Infosys’ definition for Performance Management is that performance management is a constant, on-going process of communication. During this process, employees and managers reach a consensus on the following questions in forms of collaboration partners:
Tasks that employees should complete;
How can the work that employees do make contribution to realizing the company’s goals;
Use detailed content to describe how to do job well;
How can employees and managers work together in order to help employees to improve their performance;
how to measure performance;
The obstacles that hinder the development of performance and how to conquer them.
Meanwhile, Infosys believes that performance management is:
The core part of the company’s overall human resources strategy;
One method to measure an individual’s performance;
Emphasis is put on the process of improving employees’ integrated skills;
A tool to connect individual performance with the company’s strategy and goals.
There are three aspects in Infosys’ performance management:
Performance Plan. In this part, managers and employees reach a consensus on following questions:
What should employees do?
How should work be completed?
Why this work item should be done?
When should this work item be done?
Other relevant questions: working environment, capability, career prospects, training etc.
During this process, managers and employees constantly communicate about above questions, and eventually sign on the records of their communication, and use it as the performance goals of the employees. These performance goals are the base of the whole performance management and performance measurement; thus they play a pivotal role in performance management. The process of setting performance goals usually takes a quarter of the year.
Performance goals usually include two parts: one is Business Goals; the other is Behavior Standard. According to Pinson (2004), a business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals. business plans may also target changes in perception and branding by the customer, client, taxpayer, or larger community. When the existing business is to assume a major change or when planning a new venture, a 3 to 5 year business plan is required, since investors will look for their annual return in that timeframe. Infosys uses business goals as part of employees’ yearly performance goals, and they help enhance employees’ performance and help achieve organizational goals.
2. Constant Communication of Performance. Communication should be through the whole process of performance management. Only once or twice communication between employees and managers are far from enough, and it does not obey the principles of performance management. As Montana & Charon (2008), a business can flourish when all objectives of the organization are achieved effectively. For efficiency in an organization, all the people of the organization must be able to convey their message properly.
3. Performance Appraisal Meeting. Infosys’ performance appraisal meeting is highly efficient, and it is normally held within an hour when all managers get together to discuss yearly performance evaluation. It mainly includes four aspects:
1) Employees’ self-evaluation;
2) Reaching a consensus on employees’ performance, according to facts instead of impressions;
3) Deciding performance levels;
4) It is not only to evaluate employees; it is also a good opportunity to solve problems.
Cederblom (1982) suggests that a performance appraisal is typically conducted annually. The interview could function as “providing feedback to employees, counseling and developing employees, and conveying and discussing compensation, job status, or disciplinary decisions”. It is often included in performance management systems and performance management systems are employed to manage and align all of an organization’s resources in order to achieve highest possible performance.
Training and development (T&D) is an indispensable part in human resource management, with the purpose of enhancing the performance of individuals and groups in organizations. Training and development has a number of names, such as human resource development, and learning and development. As to its definition, there are several popular explanations. According to Rothwell & Kazanas (2004), training and development, part of human resource development, is the process of changing an organization, its employees, its stakeholders, and groups of people within it, using planned and unplanned learning, in order to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage for the organization. The main body of training and development is adults, and the way adults learn and develop is different from the way students do. Adults’ training has more specific purposes, and is usually more practical, with the aim to solve practical questions. Hence, the organization or department that are responsible for developing training programs need to know about theories of adult learning. In the 1950s, Malcolm Knowles developed a new theory for adult learning, which is called “Andragogy”. Andragogy is in the context of adult learners which is contrasted with definition of child’s learning (called pedagogical learning). Michael (2007) suggests that the central idea in the context of adult learning is that it is only after convincing oneself of the rationale of learning that an adult will decide to (and be able to) learn. Hence, adults cannot be treated like children if one hopes to see learning. Therefore it is assumed that workshops and seminars organized by the students themselves create a better learning environment than those organized externally. This has led to a flurry of recent teaching innovations like student-led tutor groups and supplemental instruction programs led by above average students.
Another important theory about training and development is Learning Organization which was created by Peter Senge. Pedler & Boydell (1997) defines that a learning organization is the term given to a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. There is no a single model of learning organization. Learning organization is about an attitude toward or ideology of employee and organization and is a new way of thinking about organization. In leaning organization, everyone needs to identify and solve problems, so that the organization is able to constantly try new things, enhancing and improving its capability. The basic value of learning organization is solving problems, whereas in contrast, the focus of traditional organization is efficiency. In any learning organization, employees need to take part in identifying problems, which means that employees need to understand customers’ requirement. Employees also need to solve problems, and this means they need to think about customers’ requirement in a unique way. Learning organization enhances organization’s value by new ideas and information, instead of material production.
Training and development is mainly carried out in Infosys by its HR department. Currently the whole company has more than 20,000 employees, and training and development has always been a key function of all HR department in all branches. The company is willing to provide excellent training opportunities for its employees. Though the leading department of training and development in Infosys is its HR department, other departments also take part in and collaborate with HR department. Training and development is carried out by HR personals according to various requirements of different departments which are located in different geographic locations. There are training and development specialists who are responsible for certain training contents, such as technology, business knowledge, company policies, marketing etc. HR department plans yearly training and development schedule together with experts from other departments, and is responsible for carrying out these training schedules.
Training courses in Infosys are presented by subject matter experts(SMEs) in the company or by experts from other organizations and universities. Training specialists need to record teachers’ performance during the training sessions. After training sessions, feedback from employees are collected and analyzed, in order to better the quality and efficiency of the company’s training programs.
The company creates its training policies which is part of the company’s HR policies. And violation of training policies will be reported to the employee’s reporting manager. This ensures the quality of training and development in Infosys.
Training and development plays an important function in Infosys’ daily operation and strategy development. The HR department divides training and development mainly into four levels. The first level is for senior management and candidate senior management; the second level is for normal employees and normal managers; the third level is for first-line sales personals; the forth level is for new hires and fresh graduates. According to the needs and requirements of different levels, training sessions are designed by different teams.
Garavan, Costine, and Heraty (1995) notes that training and development (T&D) encompasses three main activities: training, education, and development and that these ideas are often considered to be synonymous. In Infosys, training and development can also be view from these three parts:
1. Training: This activity is both focused on the job tasks that an employee currently handles. It is usually conducted through the form of classroom training, on-the-job training, and competition in Infosys.
2. Education: This activity focuses upon the jobs that an employee may potentially handle in the future. Infosys provides books and self-pace learning courses for such activity, and employees have more flexibility to study on their own paces and they can choose to learn during work time or at weekends.
3. Development: This activity focuses on the activities that the organization employing the individual. In Infosys, every new employee needs to attend the ‘New Hire Orientation Development Program’ within the first three month after they are employed by the company. Such activity helps new employees know about the corporate culture, policies, dress code and so on and so forth.
At the end of each year, Infosys holds several lectures to summarize the whole training and development programs in the passing year, identifying any problems and figuring out solutions to these problems. This helps HR department better plan next year’s training programs, thus helping the company achieve its short-term and long-term strategic goals.
In Infosys, Performance Management and Training and Development are closely linked. The company creates a computer-based system to manage performance and career development of staff. It is easy for managers to see at what level the employee is currently performing and what kind of training the employee needs to take. This system also helps with a staff training and development strategy to enable employees to help them progress to the top level possible in their current job. It can also provide guidance about the possibility of further training and/or mentoring to assist them to develop their career within the organisation.
Employees’ performance is evaluated according to several aspects, and among these aspects, employee’s training and development is taken into consideration and could affect employees’ final performance appraisal. Infosys require its regular employees to take at least five training sessions in one years, to make sure every employee is equipped with latest skills and knowledge so that they can better make contribution to the company and help the company achieve its strategy goals. Employees need to complete the Job Skills Workbook which includes the skills that employees must have to complete their job tasks. This workbook is used as the basis for the performance evaluation. Both employees and managers will have to agree on the type of skills that are included in the Job Skills Workbook and which training level the employee needs to take. Besides, a group of employees can work together to identify their individual and collective training and development goals. Then these goals will be discussed with training specialists and their managers, and HR department will try to arrange according training programs for these employees. This, without a doubt, strengthens the company’s capability and improves productivity.
In Infosys, several activities are undertaken each year in order to develop key skill elements identified. These could include new work experiences, responsibilities and challenges, mentoring, coaching or more formal training. Once identified, these elements will also be included in the performance evaluation of employees. So training and development help identify new skills and responsibilities of employees, and performance management functions as a monitor and evaluation mechanism for these new training and development needs. After training sessions, the manager or team leader needs to provide the employee with feedback about their current performance and their goals for the next agreed time period which is usually one year. Finally, at the end of the agreed time period the employee needs to once again talk with his or her manager or team leader and discuss how they have performed and whether there are any changes in their training and development schedule.
Such integration of Performance Management and Training and Development in Infosys has several strengthens:
1. It creates a multi-level mechanism for performance management. By discussing with managers about what kind of skills and performance employees agree to achieve in advance, employees can know clearly what both them and their managers expect from them. Employees can attend various training programs to reach their goals and use what they have learned in their daily jobs, thus improving their productivity and job performance.
2. Employees have more choices about what they want to develop in Infosys and what their career paths are. The value of Infosys is to make every customer satisfied. It is only through excellent work that the company can win high trust from customers. When Performance Management and Training and Development work closely together in Infosys, each employee can have the choice to decide which career path they like to take, such as technical experts, people managers or delivery managers etc. With a clear target and purpose in mind, employees are more motivated to take training and development programs provided by the company and their learning results are later directly reflected in performance evaluation in performance management of the company.
On the other hand, however, there are some weakness of the integration of Performance Management and Training and Development in Infosys:
1. It puts too much focus on job skills but ignores management skills. Infosys is a large international company and its services in IT industry are among the best. The company focuses too much on the skills of its first-line employees, and almost 80% of the training and development program are about job skills. The performance evaluation of employees also mainly evaluates what new skills employees have learned through such training programs and how they perform. But in the long run, management skills are also required by employees as some of them are potential managers in the future.
2. The training sessions in Infosys are only for regular employees, not for contractors. So the result is that contractors, that occupy more than 40% of all employees, cannot receive proper training in time. Because contractors are not allowed to participate in the training and development activities, when they discuss with their managers about their performance evaluation, there is no section for training and development. This hinders contractors from developing their skills and could probably hinder the company’s strategy development in the long run.
Based on the strengths and weaknesses of the integration of Performance Management and Training and Development in Infosys, these recommendations could be taken into consideration when the management makes future decisions.
1. Management skills should also be included in Infosys’ training and development activities, and more first-line employee should have access to it. These employees would become managers in the future, and providing proper training programs on management skills would enhance their productivity and make their work more efficient and effective.
2. Training and development should cover contractors. In Infosys, there are two types of employees: regular employees and contractors. Currently most training and development programs are for regular employees only. By providing contractors the same training and development opportunities, the overall workforce of Infosys can be strengthen, and the company’s productivity on the whole can be enhanced.
This essay reviews both the Performance Management and Training and Development in the company of Infosys. It first provides academic review of the concepts and theories of Performance Management and Training and Development in HRM, then links the concepts and theories with the actual case of Infosys. It provides a critical review of how Performance Management and Training and Development work together in Infosys and analyzes the strengthens and weaknesses of these two HRM functions integrating in Infosys and provides relative recommendations.
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